Young talented Scottish musicians receive support through CashBack for Creativity scheme

Published: 13 Feb 2014

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop experienced first-hand today how cash seized from criminals is helping young Scottish rock, folk and blues musicians strive to achieve their professional dreams.

Ms Hyslop was at Edinburgh music venue Electric Circus as young musicians who have received support from Creative Scotland’s CashBack for Creativity programme prepared for a showcase concert.

Six emerging musical acts from Edinburgh, who took part in the Verden Demo Project 2012 run by Verden Studios, will perform at the free event at Electric Circus.  Among the audience will be professionals from the music industry.

The musicians, who are aged from 16 to 21, have recorded their first demo using professional facilities and been given expert advice on furthering their careers as part of the project.

CashBack for Creativity is supported by the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities initiative which re-invests the proceeds of crime back into communities to benefit Scotland’s young people. CashBack for Creativity is managed by Creative Scotland and funds cultural activities.  

Verden Studios, who were supported with £12,000 from Creative Scotland, were one of eighteen studios across Scotland which received funding through CashBack for Creativity to give young musicians access to professional recording facilities to make their first demo.

One of the young musicians, singer songwriter Holly Wilson says:

"Through the project I've managed to achieve something that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to do. The cost of producing a demo is obviously very high and being on a student budget, seemed impossible. I've managed to develop my sound as an artist having gone from being a solo singer songwriter to drafting in help from other musicians in the project and friends in order to create the sound I wanted.

“The project also gave me the chance to take part in a variety of workshops and network with people who are experienced in the industry, gaining valuable knowledge of how to approach radio stations, festivals and simple things like mailing lists and using social media effectively."

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“Scotland is home to some of the world’s best known and loved popular singers and bands from across many different genres.”
“I’m very proud that CashBack for Creativity projects like this give gifted and talented young people a chance to pursue and develop their passions. 
“Recycling the proceeds of crime through CashBack into arts and cultural activities gives Scotland's young people the opportunity to get creative and broaden their horizons.”
“It’s clear these musicians have seized this opportunity with both hands – I look forward to seeing them follow in the footsteps of today’s globally renowned Scottish acts like Amy McDonald, The View and Emeli Sande.”   

David McDonald, Youth Arts Manager at Creative Scotland, said:

“It’s brilliant to see such a diverse range of young musical talent benefiting from the Verden Demo Project 2012 and learning about the music industry. CashBack for Creativity has enabled recording studios across the country to open their doors to young musicians, giving them access to professional standard recording facilities.

“We hope that these young musicians will continue to build on their passion for music and use the skills they have learnt to continue a career in the industry, or in another profession of their choice. We very much look forward to hearing their demos and seeing them perform.” 

Gavin Fort, Studio Manager at Verden Studios, said:

“We’ve all worked hard and the acts have all come a long way on this project and although this showcase marks the end of the project hopefully it is only the beginning for these six acts. Indeed we are delighted to find out that one of last year’s acts The Spook School have just signed their first album record deal.” 

The Verden Demo Project 2012 is also kindly supported by Red Dog Music, Drum Central, Out of Hand Ltd, B L Developments, Cocoa Creative Consultants, The Phillip Hills Partnership, and the Rotary Club of Portobello.

Verden Demo Project 2012 Showcase
Electric Circus, Edinburgh, 36-39 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF
Wednesday 27 February
Doors open 6pm
Suitable for over 14s
Free entry


Notes to Editors:

The young musicians who took part in the Verden Demo Project 2012 are:

Megan D
A very gifted sixteen year old singer songwriter with a talent for writing insightful, poetic lyrics who is inspired by the likes of John Mayer and Bob Dylan.

Mothertone |
A four piece low slung heavy metal/rock group with a more melodic approach to vocal performance than is usually found in this genre. Their influences include Black Sabbath, Fu Manchu, T Rex and The Melvins. 

Rock trio Karmataus |
Influenced include the likes of Queens of The Stone Age, White Stripes and the Deftones.

Holly Wilson |
A singersongwriter who is proud of her Scottish heritage and not afraid to make use of her accent. She is a big fan of acts such as Frightened Rabbit, Eddi Reader and Amy Macdonald.  

The Southpaws |
A trio who like to explore the harmonies through their own blend of blues, funk and rock.

Nic Tate and the Sharks
An all-female all-singing harmonious 3-piece featuring guitars, drums and cello. Their influences include KT Tunstall, King Blues and Tom Waits.

The six acts received funded rehearsal time and tutoring in song writing, arrangement and performance before entering Verden Studios to spend three days recording and a further two days mixing.

They then worked with Cocoa Creative Consultants to design their CD. A consultation with Edinburgh promotion company, New Found Sound helped them draw up tailor made plans to get gigs and start building a fan base.

They have learnt about getting radio play, online promotion, securing festival slots and attracting a label.

The Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme reinvests the proceeds of crime back into communities to benefit Scotland’s young people.

Verden Studios is a premier rehearsal and recording facility in Edinburgh. It also offers equipment rental and repair services. For more info visit